I recalled the last words father squeezed out.
What kind of feelings did he put in them I wonder?
There is no way to ask him now.
"I have just left my village after coming of age. I'm nothing more than an ignorant country bumpkin."
"...Err, and your strength that defeated all those bandits alone..."
"Ah, that's because I'm working out every single day, I've also done a bit of forest hunting."
(That's not gonna convince her, but let's just push through.)
"You're a peddler, aren't you? Are you planning to open a business at the commercial city?"
I forcefully changed the topic and bit on my sandwich lunch to signify I don't plan on divulging further.
"...Yes. I was on my way to commercial city to sell my ware on my own after coming of age."
"And that's when I came across that scene huh, am I cursed or what..."
"I see you as my savior god has sent upon me."
Aryl said that lightly and jokingly, but that line displeased me greatly inwardly.
(I succeeded saving someone, fine. I can also accept how I somehow ran across it. But I reject the notion that I'm a savior sent by god. Absolutely.)
However, I didn't speak that out loud nor I showed a displeased expression.
Being a [Savior] of a god who kidnapped and forcefully brought me here is the very last thing I wanna be.
In fact, I'd like nothing more than sending a punch to that divine face's side.
After lunch break, we resumed walking.
Unlike before, Aryl started talking about the ware she's handling.
I listened to her while occasionally asking back or agreeing to distract myself from the boring mostly unchanging scenery of the forest on the roadside.
We came out of the forest after a bit, into a sprawling plain.
Far beyond at the horizon is a giant wall shining white.
"We'll be arriving soon. Are you all right carrying that much luggage? Should we take a break?"
As I've been shouldering a mountain heap of loot I got from the bandits, Aryl asked me.
She had been glancing at me at times before, but seemingly gave up asking after seeing me unperturbed.
She must have asked now after the long walk.
"Ah, no worries. Let's keep going. Or maybe you want to rest a bit, Aryl?"
"I-I'm okay. Despite how I look, I'm confident with my legs."
Thus we kept walking while minding each other.
And we finally arrived before the gate.
There was a queue of people waiting to get inside, but our turn came soon enough.
Though it was an uncomfortable period for me with all the glances.
"Take out your pass."
Thus the gatekeeper spoke. One with a leather chest protector and a long spear. And another with a long sword slightly behind him.
They're looking at me suspiciously.
(Huh? You need a pass... Man, I don't even know about common sense in the village, gotta start from scratch...)
A country bumpkin ignorant of the outside world. Knowing no shame nor honor, I'm gonna have to adopt the [Asking is a shame for that one time, not asking is a shame for life] mind set. And I'd be doing that to people other than my parents at this age.
Will I get shot down with 'complete stranger' magic word? I sure hope not.
And now I'm worried if anyone would smoothly answer my questions.
Information can be lethal weapons. Having it come back to kill me is not completely out of question.
"Yes. I have it here."
Next to me, Aryl took a piece of wood written with something from her small bag.
(Huh? She's a peddler... with a bag that small?)
As that question popped on my mind, Aryl started explaining the situation to the gatekeepers.
"Oy, you there, come with me. I need you to explain in detail."
Looks like they're gonna cross examine me. Aryl followed behind me.
"It'll be fine. I'll be your guarantor."
<TLN: Catch the latest updates and edits at Sousetsuka .com >
I followed along after getting told that.
(I can always run if it comes down to it.)
We were led to a guard rest hut.
Afterward, they kept questioning me.
Birthplace, age, reason for leaving, how I defeated the bandits, yet they never asked my name for some reason.
(Maybe it's cause they're in charge of watching countless people coming and going everyday? No point in knowing some random bumpkin's name, I guess?)
Once I thought this questioning is nothing more than a formality, I stopped thinking too hard.
"I don't know the village's name. 15. I've decided to live alone once I've come of age. I launched an ambush and lured them all into a trap."
When I gave that concise answer with a bit of lie and nothing more than necessary, the guard had a 'What's with this guy?' expression on his face. Seemingly reading the room, Aryl didn't say a word while keeping her smile.
It really was a formality, they released us after checking on Aryl and got the reply, 'He's telling the truth' from her about me exterminating the whole bandit gang thing. Apparently that was the important part.
(No one pointed out my [Blessless]-ness from my black hair and black eyes thus far... Hmm?)
"I have him hired as my bodyguard. Will you please let us go through? And could you purchase the bandits' belongings?"
Aryl seemed quite used to this kind of stuff, she took care of everything in one go.
When I thanked her later, she told me, 'I only did what's right.' I thanked her once again.
The mountain heap of loot were quickly calculated, bulking up my pocket.
Are they gonna use one of the stuff as evidence? I quickly erased that unnecessary thought.
What should I do now. With that in my mind, I left the hut and went through the gate along with Aryl.
(I don't wanna get dragged into trouble, intrigues or incidents. Spare me. I'm fed up already.)
It hasn't even been a day since I left the village.
I followed Aryl who led us into a crowd.